Zac Jarret, from Cezars Kitchen, is our school’s new sous chef! Zac is originally from Australia, where he started cooking at the age of 14 and felt in love with the profession ever since. ‘The heat, the passion, the beautiful smells, the laughter and crazy yelling.’ Passionate about learning, he quickly became head chef at age 23. Zac joined us on February. Let’s give him a warm welcome!
Where are you from?
Newcastle, Australia. It’s a big coastal town 160 kms north of Sydney.
Since when are you living in Japan?
What brought you to Japan?
My lovely fiancé. As we were leaving Japan from a recently holiday she asked me if I would like to live here and I said yes, She thought I was joking around but a few weeks later I made all the plans to move here with her. I’ve always wanted to come and stay a 6 months and work in a ski resort but never found the chance to take it.
What do you like most of living here?
Shiba Inu, I love them! The wonderful food and very polite and friendly people I’ve met. How peaceful it is here even thought it’s such a large city to me it feels like the country-side is a short drive from my home.
How do you spend your free time?
Learning new recipes, Watching dogs and playing with them if I get the chance, playing guitar (I like rock and roll and heavy metal), going to live music shows (one of my favorite bands is visiting Tokyo in a few weeks, I’m really excited) and trying to learn Japanese language. It’s kinda confusing for me but I enjoy the challenge. I also really enjoy puzzles but rarely finish one before starting another one.
Have you lived or worked in other countries as well?
I’ve worked in Italy for 2 months on a farm learning from a group of grandmothers their tricks and tips to make great Italian food. That was about 8 years ago. I’ve done some traveling around Europe for some music festivals. I’ve mostly worked in Australia but it’s so large it almost feels like I’m working in a different country with every state I moved to.
What do you feel most proud of?
Becoming a head chef back in Australia when I was 23. It was a wonderful experience and at the same terrifying, I learnt very quickly that my idea of a head chef and what a head chef is was very different but I made an effort to make myself become the head chef I wanted to be. A lot of my old head chefs were very angry and stressed out people and I never wanted to become like that. I always try to be a happy person and overcome any problem I’m faced and doing so I feel it has made me into a good chef. Before I came to Japan to live I was a head chef and invited my old head chef to try my food at the restaurant I was working for. He asked to speak to me and I thought to myself ‘oh no something must be wrong’ but turns out I was wrong. He wanted to thank me for a great meal. For me to have someone I respected a lot as chef tell me I should be proud of it really stuck with me and drove me to become a better chef. Jesse if you are reading this thanks mate!
What age do you feel right now and why?
My body feels like a 60 year old man but inside I feel like I’m still 20 years old. I currently work at a french restaurant part time as a chef and recently had an accident so my back is a bit sore but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I love. I still have the same love for cooking as I did since I was 14 year old.
Since when are you working in the kitchen?
I started working in the kitchen when I was 14 years old as a dishwasher, a few weeks later I became a cook.
Why did you choose this profession?
When I started washing dishes I often watched the chefs cook in a way I’ve never seen before. When I had the chance I would always ask them ‘how did you do that?’ ‘why are you doing that to the ______’ and my favorite ‘ please teach me do cook this’. One day a chef was sick and couldn’t work I was asked to cook for the day, they would show me and teach me, after my first 5 hours of cooking I fell in love with it. The heat, the passion, the beautiful smells, the laughter and crazy yelling. But mostly the customers, watching them enjoy something I made was an amazing feeling I couldn’t find anywhere else.
How were your first steps in this field?
I got thrown into the chaos one night, It was rough and unforgiving. There was no mistakes or second chances. It was a rush for me. Slowly I was a cook, then asked if I wanted to become a chef, after a few months it just became natural.
What are your strengths in the kitchen?
To be really blunt I’m a fast learner, hard worker and always try to improve the taste of food. I’m always prepared for the next 3 days ahead and have a great set of skills in different cookery. Recently I’m finished studying vegan cookery.
Which is your role in Cezar’s kitchen? What are your duties?
I am the sous chef, I work with the head chef to make sure everything is ready for lunch. I do some light paperwork, make sure the kitchen is clean and cook wonderful, healthy, tasty food.
Why do you enjoy working at Aoba?
There are 3 reasons why I enjoy working at Aoba. The first is the students; Aoba being an international school reminds me of Australia in the way of how multicultural it is. The second reason is I live very close and don’t have to catch the train and more. The third is the staff; they have made me feel very welcomed.